Patricia C. Nichols (Ph.D., Stanford University) is Professor of Linguistics and Language Development at San José State University, San José, California.
Spanish Literacy and the Academic Success of Latino High School Students: Codeswitching as a Classroom Resource1
Article first published online: 31 DEC 2008
© 2000 American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
Foreign Language Annals
Volume 33, Issue 5, pages 498–511, September 2000
How to Cite
Nichols, P. C. and Colon, M. (2000), Spanish Literacy and the Academic Success of Latino High School Students: Codeswitching as a Classroom Resource. Foreign Language Annals, 33: 498–511. doi: 10.1111/j.1944-9720.2000.tb01994.x
1. We are deeply grateful to Campbell Union High School District and especially to Rita Matthews, principal of Prospect High School, for encouraging and making possible the research reported on here. We thank Carol Myers Scotton and Guadalupe Valdes for comments on an earlier draft and two anonymous reviewers for their suggestions.
- Issue published online: 31 DEC 2008
- Article first published online: 31 DEC 2008
Abstract: Bilingual Latino high school students who studied Spanish as an academic subject demonstrated a heightened awareness of how to use their two languages as complementary resources in school and professional settings. A case study traces one student's literacy development in Spanish over four years and her ability to use it as a resource in her development of academic English in a college setting. Analysis of videotaped classroom presentations illustrates how an instructor's acceptance of student codeswitching, along with his selective use of codeswitching in his own interaction with students, created an academic environment that validated students' home language patterns but at the same time maintained Spanish as the classroom norm. Students' performance on national Spanish language tests, as well as their enrollment in college preparatory classes, suggest areas for further research on high school retention and preparation for postsecondary education.